As expected, Rod Hood and Eric Green both started over Antrel
Rolle at the corners. Both played pretty well, but Green failed
to pick up a fumble forced by FS Terrence Holt in the end zone
at the end of the game that could have won it for the Cardinals.
After an unexpectedly quick recovery from a torn right quad, there
was hope DT Rod
Coleman would be ready for the start of the season. That changed
right before the season started when Coleman had surgery on 8/31
to clean up his right knee. He is expected to miss 3-4 weeks.
This is a huge loss for a team, particularly their pass rush,
where he contributes as not only an interior rusher that can get
to the QB, but in drawing double-teams to free up their ends.
Babineaux replaced him in the starting lineup and had 2 solo
tackles. The front seven had no sacks and generated little pressure.
One of the rare times they did, MIN rookie RB Adrian Peterson
took a screen 60 yards for a score when SLB Michael Boley got
caught between blitzing and picking Peterson up. First-round pick
Anderson started at LDE, opposite John
Abraham. Both had 2 tackles (1 solo).
Despite losing the battle for starting FS to Chris
Crocker in the preseason, Jimmy Williams got the start opening
day as Crocker was inactive with a bone bruise in his knee suffered
in the preseason finale. Williams had 5 tackles (4 solo) and was
replaced at times by rookie CB Chris
Houston in some three-corner sets. Antoine Harris played the
nickel ahead of Houston and CLE cast-off Lewis Sanders held off
Houston to start opposite DeAngelo
Hall. Hall had the only turnover for the Falcons when he made
a diving catch on a ball deflected up by MIN TE Visanthe Shiacoe.
MLB Keith Brooking led the team with 8 tackles (3 solo). Demorrio
Williams started at WLB, but was benched in favor of rookie Stephen
Nicholas in the second half…presumably to try to help their
dismal run defense. Nicholas finished with 5 tackles (3 solo),
while Williams had 2 (1 solo). The fantasy value of both players
plummets if Nicholas is a two-down LB and Williams limited to
a situational pass rusher.
FS Ed Reed
had just one solo tackle, but the earlier indications are good
he is back to his playmaking ways. Reed had a nice return on a
fumble recovery and two nice punt returns, including one for a
63-yard TD. Reed was forced in to duty when B.J. Sams was injured.
It was Reed’s first punt return since 2003. Sams is out for the
year, so the team might go with rookie Yamon Figurs. If Reed keeps
the job, his value gets a boost in league’s the count return yardage.
MLB Ray Lewis led the team with 11 tackles (7 solo), but left
the game with an arm injury. Original reports about his season
in jeopardy with a full tear of the triceps seem exaggerated.
Apparently it is a less severe strain and Lewis hopes to play
After losing DE Ryan Denney for the season and WLB Keith Ellison
indefinitely in the preseason, the hits kept coming to the Bills
defense in Week One. FS Ko Simpson broke his ankle and will miss
the rest of the season. CB Jason Webster broke his forearm. WLB
Coy Wire, who was already replacing starter Keith Ellison who
was inactive due to a high ankle sprain, is out indefinitely with
a MCL sprain in his knee. Jim Leonhard replaced Simpson and proved
to be quite a find. He led the team in tackles with 13 (8 solo)
and had his first career pick. The undersized former UDFA may
be a nice waiver wire acquisition. Mario Haggan replaced Coy Wire
and has value by default as the starting WLB until Elllison or
Wire returns. Ashton Youboty and Kiwaukee Thomas will see more
work at corner in place of Webster.
Former first round pick DT John McCargo got his first career sack
after missing most of his rookie season.
After drafting DE Charles Johnson on Day One with the expectation
would not be back from a torn ACL and MCL, as well as the positive
development of Stanley
McClover, neither was active Sunday and Rucker was. McClover
is battling a groin injury and Johnson, who doesn’t add value
on special teams, has been slow to develop. Rucker finished with
just one assist and a QB hurry.
MLB Dan Morgan made it through one game, leading the team in tackles
with 7 (5 solo), as well as breaking up a pass. Rookie WLB Jon
Beason had 3 solo tackles.
Nate Salley, who appeared to be the starter at FS until a few
last minute moves, was inactive due to knee problems. Special
teams ace Deke Cooper started at FS and the recently acquired
Chris Harris started at SS. Although pass coverage is known as
a liability for both, they contributed to never allowing the high-powered
Rams passing game get on track. Both Harris and Cooper also forced
STL RB Steven Jackson to fumble in the third quarter.
After an injury-plagued season last year that contributed to losing
his starting role, Ken Lucas was back opposite Chris Gamble as
a starter. Richard Marshall, who broke out as a rookie last year,
was the nickel, but still more productive, fantasy-wise, than
The defense stifled SD MVP Ladainian Tomlinson most of the game,
but couldn’t overcome critical turnovers by their offense
and were eventually worn out by the lopsided time of possession.
The biggest news was the loss of two key players. After tallying
a pick and fumble recovery, FS Mike Brown left the game with a
torn right ACL. For the second consecutive season the Bears lose
Brown in the first game of the year. His presence as the leader
of the secondary and his knack for the ball won’t be replaced
by Danieal Manning, who once again replaces him in centerfield.
They also lost DT Dusty Dvoracek, who missed all of his rookie
season last year. Dvoracek looked like a fine run-stuffer with
a nasty streak. Darwin Walker will replace him as a starter, but
Walker is more of a pass rusher.
As expected, Mark Anderson replaced Alex Brown as the starter
at RDE. Anderson had 4 solo tackles, including a sack. Brown rotated
on both sides, including replacing Adewale Ogunleye in some passing
situations. Ogunleye finished with 5 solo tackles, including a
sack, and Brown had 3 solo tackles. Brown also blocked a FG.
HC Marvin Lewis has been unable to make this defense the immovable
object he established in Baltimore, but even when they allowed
yards and points, they had previously been sufficient when they
forced turnovers, something they got away from last year. They
got back to it Monday night, forcing six turnovers and knocking
BAL QB Steve McNair out of the game.
DE Robert Geathers was everywhere, totaling 4 tackles (3 solo),
a sack, another QB pressure, a pick, another pass defensed, a
fumble, and a fumble recovery.
Johnson led the team with 12 tackles (6 solo, including one
on special teams) and recovered 2 fumbles. MLB Ahmad Brooks looked
good with 6 tackles (5 solo), a sack, and a forced fumble. Lemar
Marshall was the surprise starter at SLB, where he forced
a fumble and put some pressure on McNair as a pass rusher. With
out again this week (calf surgery), Marshall should start again
and may retain the job this season.
SS Dexter Jackson appeared to suffer a leg injury during the game
and was down for some time, but is not on the injury report this
week and has practiced.
D’Qwell Jackson led the team with 7 tackles (5 solo) and
Andra Davis had 6 solo tackles, but the inside LB situation looks
like a deep rotation, stripping fantasy value from the starters.
Leon Williams and Chaun Thompson looked like they deserved more
time. Williams had 4 solo tackles and Thompson shared a sack with
OLB Antwan Peek. Peek played very well starting in place of Willie
McGinest. Peek also had 3 QB hurries, 2 solo tackles, a pass defensed,
and a fumble recovery. However, he also negated a Kamerion Wimbley
sack with an offsides in the first quarter.
With OLB Greg Ellis inactive due to problems with his Achilles’
tendon, rookie Anthony Spencer started the season opener. He had
just one assist. Kevin Burnett and Bobby Carpenter mostly saw
work on just special teams. Ellis practiced Wednesday, but is
a game-time decision. Spencer would replace him again if he’s
out. NT Jason Ferguson tore his right biceps in the game and is
done for the season. Converted DE Jay Ratliff replaced him and
totaled 3 solo tackles, including the only sack of the game for
Newman was inactive with a plantar fascia tear in his right
Reeves started in his place and was beaten regularly by NYG
WR Plaxico Burress, but also got little help from the safeties,
who might have all of the blame for at least one of the three
scores by Burress. Of course, that doesn’t matter in fantasy football
as much as SS Roy Williams leading the team with 9 tackles (8
solo), including one on special teams. Newman practiced Wednesday
and hopes to play this week.
After unimpressive reports from the preseason, new MLB D.J. Williams
was on the field for every defensive play and finished with a
team-high 9 tackles (7 solo). He also had a 14-yard sack on the
first series, after the Bills had driven well in to Denver territory
that helped calm down the defense and prevent an early score.
SS John Lynch had the only other sack, as DC Jim Bates had to
use blitz packages to bring pressure since the front four, despite
all the off-season changes, still struggled to do so. DE Simeon
Rice saw limited snaps as a situational pass rusher, as he is
still learning the defense, and finished with just one solo tackle.
John Engelberger started at LDE and had 5 tackles (2 solo), but
came out in passing situations. Rookie Tim Crowder, who impressed
in the preseason, was inactive with an ankle sprain. First-round
pick Jarvis Moss, who was limited by knee problems in camp, was
active in his opportunities, finishing with 4 tackles (3 solo).
Elvis Dumervil started at LDE and had one of the biggest plays
of the game. Not fooled on the set up for a screen, he made an
athletic play to tip the pass to himself and make a pick to end
the first half after the Bills had driven in to Denver territory.
Dumervil also had 2 solo tackles and a QB hurry. Dumervil still
appears to have the most value on the Bronco DLine this year,
but Moss definitely looks to be in the mix to produce if given
Starting corners Champ Bailey and Dre’ Bly were on the field
for every defensive snap, and they needed to be. Dominique Foxworth
sprained his ankle in the game and Karl Paymah was inactive due
to a concussion.
The promise DE Dewayne
White has shown the last few years as a reserve in TB was
realized in his first season opener as full-time starter. On the
opposite side, Kalimba
Edwards, who has failed to live up to his potential the last
few years, started off with a bang as well. White forced turnovers
on consecutive drive late in the fourth quarter and Edwards did
on the final drive to seal the victory. An interception by White
in Oakland territory was converted to a FG and an eight point
lead at the two-minute warning. On the next play from scrimmage
on the ensuing drive, White stripped the ball from OAK QB Josh
McNown on a sack. OAK TE Zach Miller picked it up, but White forced
him to fumble as well, and White recovered that fumble himself.
On one play, White had 2 solo tackles, a sack, 2 forced fumbles,
and a fumble recovery. Detroit converted that to a TD. On the
next drive, Edwards ended the game sacking McNown and forcing
a fumble that OAK meaninglessly recovered as time expired. Edwards
had another sack and forced fumble earlier in the game.
MLB Paris Lenon led the team with 11 tackles (9 solo). Lenon and
WLB Ernie Sims continue to remain in for the nickel package.
The defense overall looked very good and although they only registered
one sack, by reserve DT Corey
Williams, the front four kept the pressure on PHI QB Donovan
McNabb all afternoon. RDE Cullen
Jenkins and pass rush specialist Kabeer
Gbaja-Biamila, who Jenkins replaced as a starter, looked particularly
crisp. Jenkins slid inside in passing situations and KGB came
off the edge.
After a bit of a decline in fantasy performance last year, MLB
Nick Barnett got off to a quick start. After the Packers finally
fumbled a muffed punt in to the end zone and fell on it for the
first score of the game, Barnett picked off a pass on the ensuing
drive to help keep the momentum. GB converted the turnover into
a FG. Barnett also led the team with 13 tackles (9 solo).
In his first career start, SS Atari Bigby was second on the team
with 9 tackles (5 solo, including one on special teams). CB Al
Harris hyperextended his right elbow while blocking on the punt
return team and left for the sidelines appearing in considerable
pain. He left the game, but returned with the arm fully wrapped
and has been wearing a brace in practice.
DE Mario Williams finally had the game that showed people why
he was the first overall pick last year. He had 5 tackles (4 solo),
including two sacks and another QB hit, but the big play came
when nickel CB Jamar Fletcher stripped a ball that Williams picked
up and took in for a score.
After just being acquired in a trade before the season started
to help supplant the loss of SS Glenn Earl, the plan was to ease
Michael Boulware in to the defense. The timeframe was advanced
on Sunday when Jason Simmons tore his patellar tendon and was
lost for the season. Boulware should start this week. Wil Demps
was signed to add depth.
Freeney starts the season sackless again, but gave some hope
that he will return to a more productive fantasy player this season.
He was credited with 3 QB hurries, but was regularly putting pressure
on NO QB Drew Brees, contributing to the Saints inability to throw
deep. Freeney was held relentlessly by Jamaal Brown, shocking
never getting a penalty, and drew a false start on him once. On
the other side, DE Robert
Mathis registered the only sack, also forcing the fumble and
recovering it himself.
After losing DT Anthony McFarland for the season with a knee injury
and not adding another DT, it appeared the starting replacement
would come from veterans Darrell Reid and Dan Klecko, or third-round
pick Quinn Pitcock. Instead, the Colts may have another brilliant
UDFA find. Rookie Ed Johnson from Penn State got the start, tallying
3 solo tackles and anchoring a front seven that played much better
than expected against the run. Johnson has little fantasy value,
but could be a big contributor to the defense.
Rookie Freddie Keiaho is well on his way to being the next productive
Dungy WLB. He had 6 solo tackles, including dropping Reggie Bush
for a loss, and an interception on a nice athletic leap while
patrolling the middle of the field on a third-and-long. However,
he dislocated his right elbow during the game. He was able to
return (it happened in the first quarter and was thought to be
just a stinger), so he hopes to play this week.
New CB starters Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden got off to a
good start. Jackson led the team in tackles with 12 (8 solo),
including a forced fumble, and Hayden had 9 tackles (6 solo).
Both contributed to nearly holding Brees to the worst yardage
per completion in NFL history. So did FS Bo Sanders, whose health
will be key this season as his veteran presence is needed as glue
in the secondary. Sanders finished with 9 tackles (5 solo) and
a pass defensed.
With multiple players on the front seven injured in the preseason
or coming off injuries, the Jags were uncharacteristically vulnerable
to the run. Even if he wasn’t 100% in real football terms,
DT Marcus Stround had 7 tackles (6 solo), including a sack. MLB
Mike Peterson led the team with 8 tackles (7 solo). OLB Clint
Ingram was sidelined with an ankle sprain and veteran Pat Thomas
got the start over rookie Justin Durant, who played mostly on
Although he didn’t start and was battling an ankle sprain,
rookie Reggie Nelson saw most of the work at SS. He had 7 solo
tackles, including a sack and forced fumble. Veteran Sammy Knight
started at SS and Gerald Sensabaugh started at FS.
First round pick Reggie Nelson is expected to have recovered from
an ankle sprain in the second preseason game to be in the starting
FS on opening day. Gerald Sensabaugh should start at SS. The team
picked up Sammy Knight during the preseason, who is insurance
against either of the young players struggling.
New MLB Napoleon
Harris led the team with 8 tackles (5 solo) and broke up a
pass. OLB Derrick Johnson, who says he is completely healthy for
the first time in his pro career, had 7 solo tackles. In his return
to the Chiefs, OLB Donnie
Edwards had a sack among his 5 tackles (4 solo) and a fumble
CB Patrick Surtain left the game with a shoulder injury and is
questionable this week.
The Dolphins and fantasy owners of Jason Taylor held their collective
breath when he was slow to get up with an apparent upper leg injury
in the first half. Taylor would return and finished with 5 tackles
(4 solo), including a sack and a forced fumble. However, the news
wasn’t as good for SS Yeremiah Bell. He tore his left Achilles’
tendon in the third quarter. Tavares Tillman was his back-up,
but the team signed the recently cut Donovin Darius and Lamont
MLB Zach Thomas led the team with 13 tackles (8 solo), including
a sack. OLB Joey Porter played despite battling a sore right knee,
but did not start. He had 3 solo tackles.
Williams quickly took the pressure off young QB Tavaris Jackson
when he sucked a pass he batted in like a vacuum and rumbled 54
yards for a score on the first drive of the game by the Falcons.
The last score was by the defense too. CB Antoine
Winfield grabbed a pass that bounced off the hands of ATL
WR Michael Jenkins and returned it 14 yards for a TD. Winfield
also had 6 solo tackles, including one on special teams.
After not being put on the PUP while still coming back from a
knee injury, DE Erasmus James was a surprise scratch. Ray Edwards
started at RDE as expected, but did not have one of the six sacks
by the Vikings. He had 3 solo tackles. Fourth-round pick DE Brian
Robinson kept rolling off his impressive preseason, getting 2
sacks. Even LDE Kenechi Udeze had his first sack in almost two
MLB E.J. Henderson had 2 sacks among his 8 tackles (7 solo). Before
Sunday, Henderson had 5 career sacks in three seasons. After missing
his entire rookie year with a blown knee, Chad Greenway impressed.
He led the team with 10 tackles (4 solo) and forcing a fumble.
After a holdout through the entire preseason, CB Asante Samuel
was signed right before the season and activated just in time
to be eligible Sunday. To make room on the roster, the team released
Tory James. Samuel didn’t start, but saw work most of the
game. He had 2 solo tackles and gave up a TD to NYJ WR Laveranues
Coles on a nice fade pass. At the other corner, Ellis Hobbs had
6 tackles (3 solo), but his big play was an NFL-record 108-yard
kickoff return for a TD. That also ties Chicago’s Devin
Hester and Nathan Vasher for longest play in NFL history (both
returned missed FGs).
picked up where he left off last season, posting 2 sacks among
his 6 tackles (5 solo), including temporarily knocked NYJ QB Chad
Pennington out of the game. I counted 2.5 sacks for Green, but
the Gamebook indicated 2 for him. It also showed 2.5 sacks for
Vrabel, but I counted two for him, one solo, one shared with
Green, and one shared with DE Ty
Warren. Watch for a scoring correction. Vrabel also totaled
7 tackles (6 solo) and forced a fumble on his solo sack. One solo
by Green knocked Jets QB Chad Pennington out of the game with
an apparent ankle injury. Pennington returned and led a TD drive,
but left once the game was out of hand in the fourth quarter.
With his pass rush ability, Green is the rare 3-4 DE that could
have decent fantasy value.
Vrabel and reserve LB Junior
Seau both lined up on offense for a goal-line run by FB Heath
Evans. FS Eugene
Wilson led the team with 8 tackles (7 solo) and also broke
up a pass.
With the team looking for an upgrade their weak secondary, they
signed former IND RFA Jason
David to an offer sheet which not only cost them a big contract,
but a fourth-round pick. A few times in the first game of the
season against his old team, the Saints may have wished they were
facing David instead of playing with him. He was burnt by Marvin
Harrison once and Reggie
Wayne twice on long TD passes. David didn’t get a lot of help
from his safeties, either. Manning was starring down his receiver
on a couple of those. However, David did have a nice strip after
a catch by Wayne and showed good awareness spinning off the tackle
to pick up the ball and return it 55 yards for the team’s only
Thomas, who David replaced as a starter, was inactive.
After a strong preseason, DE Will Smith got off to a disappointing
start. He had 2 solo tackles and was credited with 3 QB hurries,
but rookie LT Tony Ugoh prevented Smith from making an impact
on the game. The team had no sacks in the game.
SLB Scott Fujita led the team with 9 tackles (8 solo) and also
broke up a pass. Mark Simoneau started at MLB as expected and
saw most of the work, but was pushed around, particularly IND
C Jeff Saturday. Brian Simmons was limited to special teams, where
he had a solo tackle.
New York Giants
After a breakout 2005, DE Osi Umenyiora had a disappointing season
last year battling hip problems that cost him five games and parts
of others. This spring he jokingly declared himself the best DE
in the NFL, but doesn’t look like he’ll have the chance
to prove it soon. He left the first quarter in Sunday night’s
game with an MCL injury. There is a stream of misinformation on
whether it is a strain or a more severe tear and the length of
time he is expected to miss (day-to-day up to two months) between
his agent, the media, and Giants, who have not even officially
ruled him as out for this week. Definitely avoid him this week.
The end result was more snaps for Justin Tuck, who had a sack
among his 4 solo tackles. Tuck should start at RDE opposite Michael
Mathias Kiwanuka had 4 solo tackles, including one on special
teams, in his debut as the starting SLB. HC Tom Coughlin has left
the door open for him to move back to DE depending on the status
of Umenyiora. His value would increase only if your league considers
him a DL.
New SS James Butler had 8 tackles (6 solo, including one on special
teams). FS Gibril Wilson had 8 solo and a pick. MLB Antonio Pierce
had 8 solo, rounding out the trio that led the team in tackles.
New York Jets
With no sacks or turnovers and NE QB Tom Brady picking them apart,
there weren’t many highlights for the Jets D. The top performance
was by DE Kenyon
Coleman, who replaced Kimo von Oelhoffen as the starting RDE
in their base 3-4. Coleman led the team with a career-high 12
tackles (10 solo). Mostly a back-up during his career, the journeyman
had his best season last year when he had 30 total tackles and
4 sacks with DAL. I wouldn’t rush to pick him up, I don’t see
this being a regular occurrence.
Rookie CB Darrelle
Revis was expected to start and with Andre Dyson inactive
with a foot injury, there was no doubt. Revis finished with 7
tackles (5 solo). He had a solid first game, especially compared
to the misplays by veteran Dave
MLB Kirk Morrison has been a steady tackle machine, but one knock
on him is he doesn’t turn in the big plays. He started this
season off differently, breaking up two passes, including one
deep in Oakland territory in the first quarter. He also led the
team with 9 solo tackles. WLB Thomas Howard had 6 tackles (5 solo),
including a sack.
Michael Huff remained the starter at SS and had 6 solo tackles.
Not allowing an offensive TD, the defense did their job as two
muffed punts and an ineffective offense in QB Donovan McNabb’s
first game back from his knee injury last year caused their loss.
The pass rush was particularly effective, getting to GB QB Brett
Favre four times and pressuring him several others. DT Mike Patterson,
looking like he is taking the next step in to being a dominant
DT after an impressive rookie season, led the way. Patterson led
the team with 10 tackles (7 solo), including a sack. LDE Jevon
Kearse, also returning from injury, gave the Eagles fans a scare
when he came up hopping in pain after sharing a sack with RDE
Trent Cole. However, Kearse returned the next series and would
later recover a fumble forced by Cole on a solo sack late in the
CB Sheldon Brown had an interception and 7 solo tackles. On the
other side, Lito Sheppard left the game in the first half after
suffering a sprained right MCL. He will miss at least this week.
Will James will replace him.
New MLB Omar Gaither disappointed in his debut, posting just 3
tackles (2 solo) on defense. He had another solo on special teams.
They so thoroughly dominated the Browns, it was hard to separate
the wheat from chaffe. For example, Ryan
Clark held on to the starting FS job over sophomore Anthony
Smith, but the two both stood out in the rotation. Clark had 3
solo tackles, including forcing a fumble on a sack. Smith had
4 solo tackles and forced a fumble. In total, the Steelers had
6 sacks and forced five turnovers. One player off to a good start
that looks to be the real deal is OLB James
Harrison. He did a good Joey Porter impression, who Harrison
replaced at ROLB, in his first game. Harrison led the team with
7 solo tackles, including a sack.
First-round pick LB Lawrence Timmons, who struggled with injuries
and learning the defense, saw action mostly on special teams.
Fellow rookie LaMarr Woodley saw work in the rotation at OLB and
had a tackle.
SS Oshiomogho Atogwe led the team with 10 solo tackles. However,
he also had a pass interference penalty on an incomplete third-and-two
in the first quarter that kept alive an eventual TD drive by Carolina.
WLB Pisa Tinoisamoa sprained his ankle in the fourth quarter,
returned to the game, but then had to leave for good. Chris Draft
replaced him. Tinoisamoa was on crutches Monday, has yet to practice
this week, and is listed as questionable. However, he is an extremely
tough player and likely to be in there this week. SLB Brandon
Chillar had 8 tackles 6 solo, with a forced fumble and fumble
Reserve DT Claude Wroten was suspended four games for violating
the league’s substance abuse policy this week (after Week
New ILB starter Stephen Cooper is off to an impressive start.
He led the team with 8 tackles (7 solo), forced a fumble on one
play and recovered one on another. Matt Wilhelm wasn’t bad
either, finishing with 5 tackles (4 solo) and recovering a muffed
punt on special teams. With more playmaking ability, Cooper looks
to have the better fantasy potential of the two.
Despite playing NT, last year Jamal Williams translated the value
he brings in real football terms in to decent fantasy production.
More than a space-eater, his explosive and strength allow him
to beat the double-teams he is meant to draw. He is off to a good
start this year, posting 4 solo tackles and forcing a fumble.
One of his biggest plays doesn’t show up on the box score.
He blew up the middle on a fourth-and-one in the fourth quarter,
allowing ends Igor Olshansky and Luis Castillo to make the stop
and end any chance of a comeback for the Bears. If you segregate
DE and DT, Williams isn’t a strong consistent play at DT,
but his big play potential could pay off any week you don’t
have a more favorable match-up to play.
Clinton Hart started at SS as expected, but rookie Eric Weddle
rotated in at different places in multiple packages. Weddle had
his first career sack among his 3 solo tackles and was used to
rush the passer a few times.
First round pick LB Patrick Willis wasted little time making an
impression. He led the team with 11 tackles (9 solo), forced a
fumble, and applied some good pressure when asked to blitz. He
is the real deal.
After what appeared to be an anomaly of a season last year, CB
Walt Harris is out to prove people wrong. He started the year
with a pick on an outstanding break and a nice 23-yard return.
DE Patrick Kerney made a good first impression on his new team
with 5 tackles (2 solo), including 1.5 sacks. New starter DE Darryl
Tapp had 4 tackles (2 solo), with half a sack and a pass defensed.
His starting job was secured this week when Bryce Fisher was traded
to Tennessee. This also opens up more opportunities for Jason
Babin, acquired for Michael Boulware from Houston before the season
MLB Lofa Tatupu tied CB Kelly Jennings for the team lead with
8 tackles, but all for Tatupu were solo. Tatupu also forced 2
fumbles and had a QB pressure. OLB Julian Peterson had 2 sacks
among his 7 solo tackles, also forcing and recovering a fumble.
OLB Leroy Hill also had 7 tackles (5 solo) and was on crutches
this week with an apparent foot injury, although there has been
no indication of concern for his status this week.
Despite cutting Simeon Rice and losing Patrick Chukwurah to a
MCL injury for a few weeks, first-round pick Gaines Adams still
did not start. Veteran tweener Kevin Carter started at RDE and
Greg Spires retained his LDE job with the first team. Adams saw
work in as a pass specialist, with Carter sliding inside. Carter
had 2 tackles (1 solo) and a QB hit, while Adams had an assist.
Spries was the most productive, with 5 tackles (4 solo), including
a sack, and a pass defended. Instead, FS Tanard Jackson became
the first Buc rookie in 11 years to start a season opener. He
had 5 solo tackles (including 2 on special teams) and broke up
MLB Barrett Ruud erased some doubts about his status with the
addition of Jeremiah Trotter. Rudd led the team with 13 tackles
(10 solo), forced a fumble, and had a fumble recovery. Trotter
was inactive. SS Jermaine Phillips made a statement about keeping
his job (over rookie Sabby Piscitelli), as well. Phillips had
10 tackles (8 solo), including a sack.
Tennessee Antwan Odom and Travis LaBoy rotated at DE opposite Kyle VandenBosch.
Both Odom and LaBoy had a sack. That didn’t stop the team
for trading an undisclosed draft pick for SEA DE Bryce Fisher,
who lost his starting job this year.
Cortland Finnegan started at corner opposite Nick Harper. Rookie
Michael Griffin mostly saw work on special teams, including as
the primary kick returner, a role he never played in college.
His first return was for 30 yards, but he fumbled at the end,
although Tennessee recovered. New DT Corey Simon saw just a handful
of snaps. Like for Griffin, as the Titans dominated the time of
possession, deep rotations weren’t needed.
After just three starts in his first three NFL seasons with the
Cowboys, Ryan Fowler has beat out last year’s fourth-round
pick, Stephen Tulloch, for the starting MLB job. As the Titan’s
run a lot of nickel as their base, even on running downs, their
MLB has typically been of little fantasy value. Stud WLB Keith
Bulluck is the only LB who never comes off the field.
WLB Rocky McIntosh carried over his strong play from the preseason
in to the opener. He tied for the team lead with 12 tackles (9
solo), including his first career sack and forced fumble. One
assist was on special teams. London Fletcher-Baker also had 12
tackles (10 solo).
Fred Smoot started over Shawn Springs at corner opposite Carlos
Rogers. Springs played nickel corner. This was a surprise, but
there has been a lot of drama surrounding the aging Springs since
last year. He had three injuries last year. A sports hernia and
hamstring bothered him before a broken shoulder blade ended his
season. He played in just nine games total. The team asked him
to take a pay cut, which he refused, and then didn’t show
up to OTA’s in the spring. There was also talk of moving
him to safety. However, he was at camp and appeared to be set
to remain a starter. After the game, HC Joe Gibbs talked about
how Springs doesn’t seen as explosive, insinuating he may
be bothered by injuries. Springs says he feels great. Springs
has the highest base salary on the Redskins.